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In the past, the quiet of island life was frequently disturbed by the whistles of visiting steamships packed with picnickers from the city. Today, the steamships have vanished but Bowen Island, just off the coast of West Vancouver, still attracts the visitor with its rural charm, forest and shoreline trails.
Easily reached from Horseshoe Bay by ferry, the island is another world, yet so close. You arrive in Snug Cove - known locally as "The Cove" - where you soon discover the 323 hectare (800 acre) Crippen Regional Park, still a great place for picnickers. Along the top of the cove are you'll find some restored summer cottages, one of which is a museum, nestled in a heritage apple orchard. The island's heritage buildings also include the Union Steamship Company's former general store which now serves as a community meeting place.
Across the island there are numerous parks with exceptional hiking trails, of varying degrees of difficulty, winding you through lush forest with great views of Howe Sound. To get a closer look at the sea, you could arrange to go sea kayaking in the waters around the island with the aid of Bowen Island Sea Kayaking. A great day trip for nature lovers too.
On second thought, you might want to consider staying awhile and enjoying island hospitality at one of the many charming Guest Cottages or Bed & Breakfasts. Locals will let you know about the island's thriving artist community. Take a stroll around Artisan Square for a unique island shopping experience or find a host of services centred in the Village Square.
Bowen's restaurants and pubs - including Doc Morgan's Restaurant and Marine Pub - are clustered in "The Cove" near the ferry dock. A perfect place to grab a bite to eat while watching for your boat back to the mainland.
Don't expect too much to happen here, rather allow yourself to adapt to the island pace.
For further information contact:
Bowen Island Chamber of Commerce
Bowen Island, BC V0N 1G0